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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  April 16, 2019 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT

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stuff. trump gets elected, the campaign's over, katie finds indoor work. she meet a guy named tony and she falls in love. they get a house, and that brings us today, news of the happy arrival of theodore known as teddy. and we couldn't be happier. and special thanks to our friend katie for quite literally delivering some great news around here. that is our broadcast on this tuesday night. thank you so much for being here with us. good night from nbc news headquarters in new york. the republican party pulled off a rare electoral feat in 1988 when they were able to elect a president from their own party after ronald reagan had just served his two terms as well. usually voters are in the mood to turf out the party in power
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after a president from one party has been in there for a couple of terms. but in 1988 the republicans beat those odds. republican president ronald reagan had served for two terms. he was succeeded in office by his republican vice president, by george h.w. bush. he was elected in 1988 and sworn in january 1989. and although both those presidents, both president bush and president reagan will certainly have their place in the history books, the transition wasn't as easy as you might expect. the elevation from vice president bush to president bush was a little bit rocky. in his first year especially early on in his first year he suffered in comparison with reagan. particularly when it came to his instincts around public communication and his handling of the press. take for example this moment just a few months after poppy bush became president.
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this was may 1989. in may 1989 president george h.w. bush decided to make a very controversial, very provocative, very bold public statement on foreign policy. but he did it in the most awkward inexplicable way possible, which is exactly how the press reported it. >> his aides said the situation in panama was relatively quiet today and required no comment from the president. but mr. bush had a nagging feeling that he had not made his views on panama clear, that the panamanian people did not realize how much he hopes they will rise up against the general. so on air force one bush spoke out. >> they should do everything they can to have the will of the people respected. they ought to heed the international calls. they ought to just do everything they can to get mr. noriega out of there. >> on second thought when he urged the panamanian people to be cautious.
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>> no, i would add no words of caution. the will of the people should be implemented. look, i'm not about to get into proposing a three point action plan for the people of panama. you see i do think it's important that it not be the united states, the colossus of the north coming down there to try to dictate to the people of panama. >> it was such a weird rollout of this position from the president, right? his aides tell the press, you know, nothing's going on. there's nothing in particular that is driving this. the president was just doing this other thing, it was totally unrelated and he had a nagging feeling. he had a feeling that maybe people weren't totally clear on how much he wants there to be a coup in panama. so on air force one he hopes there's a coup. he doesn't want the united states to be dictating what should happen, but he does want there to be a coup, and so he
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wants to summon all the reporters on air force one for him to remind them how much he thinks that country should overthrow its leadership. not that he thinks the united states should be dictating what happens there. given that initially awkward rollout the president decided he would give the whole thing another shot the following day. but again it was sort of one shot forward, two shots back. >> the administration says it hopes the panamanian defense force will follow president bush's plea to rise up against noriega. at a political fund raiser mr. bush said he would act as much as possible in concert with other countries. >> we do not want to return to the days of the imperialistic
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gringos of the north. >> we don't want to tell any country what should happen in their country except in panama you guys need to have a coup. that in may 1989. by october of that same year, october 1989, though, in fact panama had a coup. at least they had an attempted coup. it did not go well. >> panama's general noriega in control then and still in cell now. good evening, panama's general noriga is alive and well tonight still in power after rebel troops tried to overthrow him in a day of heavy fighting. the shrewd and military strong man appeared tonight on panamanian television and condemned the up rising. in the capital panama city forces of noriega are in control. tonight ultimately it was
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noriega's forces who won the day. >> much more powerful tonight after having easily put down this attack. >> white house aides knew there could be an attempted coup but the president omknew for certain after gunfire erupted in panama city. >> president bush learn of the fighting just before. during the ceremony bush seemed distracted. not only was bush worried about the coup's chances of success. he also worried that latin-americans would accuse the u.s. of throwing its weight around in a tiny latin country. bush later went out of his way to deny u.s. involvement. >> there were rumors this was some american operation. and i can tell you that is not true. >> although bush denied involvement, he has urged panamanians to rise up against
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no noriega. bush's aides do not believe his failure is the bay of pigs. the bay of pigs was an american operation. today's attempted coup was not according to bush's aides. although he urged a revolt, he never promised to help. >> anytime they're saying, now they don't think this is his bay of pigs, anytime you have to reference that -- those reports are from october 3rd. that was the day of that failed attempted coup in panama. within a few days this just continued to escalate and escalate and escalate domestically here until it became a full-scale political disaster for the relatively young george h.w. bush white house. >> good evening. president bush and his advisers are under fire tonight charged with fumbling a chance to get rid of general noriga during tuesday's attempted coup. >> president bush took the attempted step to assure george mitchell that george bush did
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not wimp out in the middle of the coup taemt. later nbc's andrea mitchell asked bush if he got bad intelligence from his advisers. >> no, i do not think so at all and i don't think anybody up here thinks so. >> president bush knew he was in trouble when he read his morning newspapers. caught off-guard, aides admit bad handling. tragedy. inexperience helped doom coup. >> that is how that unfolded during the first week in october 1989. here's this new u.s. president had been been encouraging a coup for months. insisting on it at times but still saying i don't want to be telling you what to do except you should have a coup. when the coup finally comes to pass, the coup fails. he appears to not have kbonown
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what he was talking about, pledging all this u.s. support that never arrived. and then a week later it's interesting that whole story which was very, very bad news for this new presidency, that whole story took a turn. it happened on friday 13, october 13th, 1989, just exactly a week after that day of terrible headlines for president george h.w. bush about him skruing up whskr screwing up when it came to that coup in panama. it had a big crash, one of the biggest crashes of the decade. but even along that huge crash, the new twist in the panama crisis made news that night, too. in a huge big new way because of this scoop on the front page of the l.a. times. fbi gets okay for overseas arrests. that's the a1 headline in l.a. times. to act without the consent of foreign states could apply to
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efforts to bring panama's noriega to trial in florida. so even with the huge devastating stock market crash that black friday october 13, 1989 there's also the huge crash that puts the panama story back on friday night. and the inept comment from the new president to punctuate. >> the fbi tonight has broad new powers to arrest american fugitives overseas. the justice department says permission is not needed from foreign countries. however secretary of state james baker says this new procedure will not be used without a full discussion of the obvious foreign policy implications. >> mr. president, the l.a. times is reporting tonight that the president has given the fbi the ability to arrest foreign
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fugitives without the country's consent. can you tell us what led up to this event? the fbi can go to panama now? >> i'm embarrassed to say i don't know what it is -- i'll have to get back to you with an answer to your question. i've not seen the l.a. times reports and i'll not comment until i do. >> arlin, do we get the l.a. times here? what is this? i mean, here is this new president on shaky ground who's had a really big foreign policy national security crisis in his first six months in office. right, he was been ineffectually noncommittee saber rattling for months how he wants there to be a coup in panama. he wants the leader there to be overthrown. the u.s. will be there. if the panamanian people, the pan minion military just rise up
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and topple the leader the u.s. will be there. after months of saying that and then not following through including when they tried it, this was a shocking turn in that story. here's the president's justice department saying well, here's a plan b. here's something we believe we can do. we're going to proclaim under the law we can do it. u.s. law enforcement personnel, u.s. fbi agents we're going to declare they legally can just go into any other country anywhere in the world and arrest the leader of that country if the u.s. wants to. therefore you won't really need a coup. we'll just have the fbi do your coup for you anywhere. that was the l.a. time's scoop that october. the justice department acting with unusually secrecy has given the fbi legal authority to apprehend fugitives from u.s. law from foreign countries and return them to the united states without first obtaining the foreign state's consent. the rule could apply in such efforts as to bring the
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panamanian strong man noriega to trial. "the times" noted that the refusal by justice department officials to discuss the ruling was puzzling at a legal level because the ruling wasn't classified. it quote, does not carry a security classification. so why wouldn't they discuss it? why wouldn't they admit it even existed. the times knew it existed. it was able to figure out both the title of that memo and its author, then assistant attorney general william p. barr. yeah, that guy. the same william p. barr who's the newly appointed attorney general under president trump. when he was the assistant attorney general under george h.w. bush, when he was running the office of legal counsel at the justice department he wrote and then tried to keep secret a very controversial legal opinion on this very controversial issue. i mean, the brand new poppy bush
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administration was contending with wave after wave of controversy over this whole issue of panama. this was one of the big waves in that controversy. a legal opinion which came to light a week after this failed coup, right? a legal opinion they were trying to keep secret, which seemed to imply that the u.s. now believed the fbi could send in its agents to remove a foreign leader from power anywhere in the world under our own government's say so without consulting any foreign government about the fact they were going to do this. i mean, it was one thing for the president to be, you know, calling for up risings in other countries, promising support for that up rising and not delivering. and another thing for him to say the up rising from here on out would not be needed because we'd just do it ourselves with our law enforcement guys? congress unsurprisingly was concerned. they convened a hearing that was titled fbi hearing to seize suspects abroad. william p. barr, the author of
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that reported memo was summoned to testify. he was asked to congress. he was asked by congress to hand over this legal memo that he'd authored, which reportedly justified this kind of radical action nobody had ever heard of before. william p. barr did show up for his congressional testimony, but he refused to hand over his opinion that had been written that led to him testifying in the first place. this is from the transcript of that hearing. mr. barr, quote, although the content of that opinion must remain confidential i'm happy to share with the committee our legal reasoning and our conclusions. before turning to these legal issues i think it's important that the committee understand -- and then he gets interrupted. congressman don edwards interrupts. mr. chair, may i interrupt? we have a copy of other nonclassified opinions. this is not a classified document. mr. barr ses -- excuse me, he says mr. barr, why are you with
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holing it from this committee? barr then insist it was the policy of the justice department that opinions like this must remain confidential. it does not appear at all to have been the broad-based policy of the justice department such documents remain confidential. but nonetheless he insisted that was the policy he was following. the committee chairman knew that he was asserting a confidentiality policy that didn't really exist, and he pushed him on it. the committee chairman said, quote, i understand that mr. barr, but this is public business. the subject of much discussion in the united states. you are going to have to tell the public and the congress some time why you changed the rules on this arresting of fugitives overseas. william barr responds, that's what i'm here doing. we have no objection to explaining our conclusions and our reasoning to the committee. i'm just not going to give you the document. i'll explain it to you. i'll describe what's in it. so here's congress saying this
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is matter of intense public interest. this is the biggest scandal for this president. there is reportedly a document in the justice department that is very relevant to our understanding of the conduct of this administration. it is directly on point. for a matter of huge controversy and political importance and geopolitical importance that directly affects the behavior of the president of the united states which has not been stellar on this point. you have to show us this document that has been reported in the press, that has been described. you're now admitting that this document exists. show us the document. william barr says i don't want to show you the document, but trust me i will describe it to you. he actually says at the hearing, these are his words at that hearing in 1989. he seays that instead of handin over the actual opinion itself he will, quote, summarize the principle conclusions of the opinion. summarize its principle conclusions. where have i heard that before? law professor ryan goodman wrote
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up this historical account this week. flow that this same william barr, this exact same guy is handling there report from special counsel robert mueller in exactly the same way. refusing to hand over the document itself and instead he's providing what he described with exactly the same words, his summary of principle conclusions. right, that summary of principle conclusions is all we've got thus far from barr. it's going to be followed thursday morning this week by some sort of redacted censored version of mueller's report. it's been 25 days since mueller handed his report in to barr, a matter of intense public interest, intense investigatory interest. we still only have william barr's so-called summary of principle conclusions. but you know thanks to history we do know what happened the
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last time william barr asked the country and asked congress to trust him, to trust his summary of principle conclusions while he simultaneously refused to release the underlying document itself. that is what he's doing with the mueller report right now. that is kplaekt the same thing he did using exactly the same language in 1989 with his super controversial legal opinion that said the fbi could go into any country in the world and arrest any foreign leader and bring them back to the united states. it took a while for it finally to come out, but within a couple of years of that stone walling testimony from william barr at the height of the panama controversy in 1989, within a couple of years the underlying document that gave rise to all that scandal that he said couldn't be released, within a couple of years that document finally did get released in full. congress subpoenaed it. "the washington post" michael isikoff got his hands on it. ultimately that legal opinion that barr had refused to
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release, that he only described it was finally printed in unredacted form. because we can now see that we now know for the sake of informing our good judgment today and this week when it comes to william barr, that the last time he tried to get away with something like this in 1989, william barr's summary of undocumented conclusions bore no relation at all to what was actually in the underlying document. as ryan goodman puts it this week, quote, when the opinion was finally made public it was clear that barr's summary had failed to disclose the opinion's principle conclusions. barr's so call summary, quote, omitted some of the most consequential and incendiary conclusions from the actual opinion and there was no reason to having withheld those parts. what barr said in his summary
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and what was actually in this document he prortedly was sum a sumerizing, what he assured congress that the l.a. times had scooped him on, he said that the opinion was, quote, strictly a legal analysis of the fbi's authority as a matter of domestic law to conduct extraatorial arrests. i cannot show you the opinion, i've decided i cannot show you my opinion. i'm telling you it's strictly an analysis as a matter of domestic law, strictly. and then ultimately we get the underlying document he was refusing to release. and you don't want to go through all of it. just look at the subheadings in it. the effect of customary international law on the fbi's powers. also the president's constitutional power to authorize opinions.
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also the status of the u.n. charter and other unexecuted treaties and treaty provisions. my favorite, subsection f, international and foreign law and the fourth amendment. whether or not it's a good thing or bad thing the justice department held the fbi could go and arrest foreign leaders anywhere in the world, when it came time for william p. barr to explain that to congress, to explain to congress and the public what was in that document, he said strictly on domestic -- this was strictly on domestic law. this was analysis strictly on u.s. law. the whole thing actually turned out to pea only about international law. at least all of the controversial and incendiary and inflammatory parts of it were. but he left all of those out in his summary. that's the last time william p. barr tried to issue a summary of principle conclusions to the public and congress instead of handing over an actual document. and that previous experience in
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u.s. history with william p. barr is part of the reason there are so many red flags flying everywhere about him refusing to release the mueller report in full to congress, about him writing his own summaries of what he says is in the mueller report instead of releasing the summaries mueller's team wrote themselves about the report. it's also the reason i think there are just generally low expectations for whatever it is going to be released from barr's office thursday morning this week a he's been involved in supervising this vague and ever shifting redaction process and appears to be reinventing on the spot once he received the mueller report and got a look at it. so we're going to speak with ryan goodman about the implications of william p. barr's past behavior here and what we're about to experience. but the fact there are such low expectations what's going ton be released thursday morning also puts the spotlight on two other aspects here which may yet
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influence how attorney general william barr is helping into what he's going to do in two days. number one, there's the question of mueller. there's the question of whether or not robert mueller himself will be allowed to testify to congress about what his findings were. i mean separate and apart from whatever written document is released to congress and the public, will mueller be allowed to testify, to explain what his findings were? it's very interesting. over these past couple of weeks, house republicans surprisingly have been on the same side as house democrats on the issue of mueller testifying. both the top republican on the intelligence committee, devin nunes and the top republican on the judiciary committee, doug collins they have both said since mueller submitted his reporter that mueller himself should be called to testify about the investigation and his findings. so that will mean both the democratic chairman and the republican ranking members of both of those key committees have said they want mueller testifying in congress. could that help?
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if this goes badly on thursday morning, which i think everybody is expecting it to in terms of what is cut out of mueller's findings, could testimony from mueller meaningfully fix that? could it meaningfully assuage concerns in the country about what barr has cut out of mueller's written findings? if mueller's allowed to testify on his own terms as to what he found, that's one. then there's also the judicial process, and this has not head nearly as much attention, but we know that the judiciary committee is going subpoena the full document after they've seen what's been redacked out of it. but there's another way judicial proceedings matter here not in terms of just what congress might be able to get in the courts. there's another way in which the judiciary might matter. there was a freedom of information act lawsuit by buzzfeed news. seeking to release the full
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unredacted report. today in a hearing on one of these motions. a federal judge named judge reggie walton he suggested in open court today that whatever william barr redacts from mueller's report, that may be subject to his review as a judge who's considering these requests. that judge today suggested in court he personally may have to look at the entire unredacted mueller report himself to decide if barr's redactions are proper under the freedom of information act or if those things ought to be released to public, too. that's important. important for not only what might happen down the line but important in terms of what william barr might do next. because the bottom line here is that william barr got caught once before not telling the truth about an underlying document he said couldn't be released.
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he purported to summarize it and put out a purported summary that did not at all match that document he tried to keep secret. well, the mueller report may never be kept secret in the long run either. there are multiple paths in which the full unredacted mueller report may ultimately see the light of day. some of them controlled by congress, some of them controlled by the judiciary. some controlled by unforeseen factors we don't know how u.s. history is going to wraparound in the future. but if barr is going to try this weekend that is not a truthful representation of what mueller actually found, he will likely be caught for that. just like he was before. that is what history tells us, and that has to loom over what he is planning to shoveling to us on thursday morning. we'll be right back. us on thursday morning we'll be right back. billions of bacteria,
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with a few simple steps. really? really. that was easy. yup. plus, with two-hour appointment windows, it's all on your schedule. awesome. now all you have to do is move...that thing. [ sigh ] introducing an easier way to move with xfinity. it's just another way we're working to make your life simple, easy, awesome. go to to get started. after being handed the report by special counsel 25 days ago bill barr told the country while he really, really wanted to be as transparent as possible, he could not possibly release mueller's report to the public or to congress, nor could he release even the summaries of mueller's findings that mueller's team reportedly wrote themselves specifically so they could be released to the public. no, he couldn't release those at all. william barr could not let any of that see the light of day. instead, he'd be more than happy to release his own summary of
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the principal conclusions of mueller's investigation. those principal conclusions we now know amounted to everything's fine, the president is very cool, everybody go home. we're now learning that this is not the first time william barr has resorted to that trick. in 1989, he drafted a really, really, really controversial memo when he was the head of the office of legal counsel at the justice department. when word leaked about that document and congress demanded to see it, barr said no, he insisted that even though the document wasn't classified, it was just very important that they not see that document. instead, he offered to, you guessed it, summarize the principal conclusions of the document. trust him, you don't need to see the real thing, he'll just tell you what's in. as law professor and former defense department special counsel ryan goodman writes this week at justice security, "when the olc opinion was finally made public long after barr left office, it was clear barr's summary failed to fully disclose the opinion's principal conclusions.
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it omitted some of the most consequential and incendiary conclusions from the opinion. there was no justifiable reason for having withheld those parts from congress or the public." joining us now, nyu law professor ryan goodman. he did serve as special counsel to the defense department during the obama administration. he's now co-editor in chief at "just security." thank you for being here. >> thank you. >> i'm working off your work here. i didn't know this story about this olc memo until you wrote about it but it was fascinating to get back into that history. let me first ask you if i screwed any of that up in telling that story. >> no. i think you laid the political context out extremely well, too. >> so one of the things that we learned from you resurfacing this story from recent history is that william barr has been doing this for a long time and that he is -- we knew he was an experienced washington official. this tells us something specifically about his experience but it also raises the question as to whether or not he might ultimately feel
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constrained in putting out a summarized or redacted version of a document if he knows that the ultimate document, the original document, is ultimately going to come out. how did you come i away feeling about that looking at this issue? >> i think that's one of the most important insights from hit i are, when he is withholding from congress, first he tries to withhold the opinion then he says i'll give you my summary of it. he must know that eventually it will come out. so what's most worrisome is that he must know that it will tarnish his reputation when the opinion finally does see the light of day but i think he has a mission and the mission is to protect the white house and protect the president so he knows by the time that this opinion might come out and he guessed right or he strategized correctly, three years later. the whole political issue has changed and it's a new
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administration. so -- >> and he's moved on out of that job, moved on to other jobs and small enough issue in history that it doesn't end up tarring him for life. >> if anything, it proves himself, it proves himself to another administration, trump administration, this will be your guy, he can do this kind of work for you because he's willing to put himself on the line and it's pretty artful what he did. it's strategic deception. i would think that if they knew about this history, there's every reason to think they might have in digging up his history and understanding him, this would be the person for them. >> how does it factor into that calculous, strategic deception, the prospect that robert mueller might testify? i've been surprised over the last couple weeks to see the top republicans on key committees including intelligence and judiciary come out and say they, too, want robert mueller to testify about his findings. not just barr testifying about mueller's findings but mueller, himself. i wonder just big picture if you think that mueller's testimony might be a way of correcting for any distorting redactions or overambitious redactions that barr tries to get away with it. >> i do think so. i think there are a couple of checks this time around that
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won't repeat history. there's mueller in the background. maybe he testifies. there's also the mueller team. we already know from "the new york times" reporting and the "washington post" reporting that the mueller team was very dissatisfied with -- >> they went to the press for the first time. >> yeah, for the first time in all of this period, they've been incredibly quiet. that's another check they might go to the press as whistle-blowers essentially, if barr misrepresents their work which he seems to have already done and does it even worse on thursday, that's a second check and the third check is the house judiciary committee has already authorized the chair to subpoena the full report and back in 1989, believe it or not, it takes congress 21 months before they subpoena the full report. so this time around, i think barr, if he thinks about the calculation, he might actually think this report could become public within a matter of months. >> exactly. even though it took a long time in '89 for congress to issue that subpoena, once they did, they got it quickly. in this case he knows congress is going to issue the subpoena right away, maybe on thursday it may happen fast. >> exactly. one week in 1989 after they finally issued the subpoena. >> thank you for digging up the
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history. it was hiding in plain sight once you went to go look for it. i never would have known about this point in barr's history and seems like an incredibly uncannily spot-on precedent for what we're going through. >> thank you. >> really good to have you here. ryan goodman co-editor in chief at where you can read this piece he's written about the bizarre noriega memo. he was also special counsel during the obama administration. we'll be right back. non-drowsy claritin. and relief from symptoms caused by over 200 indoor and outdoor allergens.
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there was the time he got mad about the size of his rally. not the reported size of his rally but the size of his rally. there was the time he told the attorney general that he was an idiot. there was the time he cursed out the senate majority leader over the phone. the berating with a profane shouting match reporting. there was the time he erupted at nancy pelosi and chuck schumer. that one happened on live tv and gave rise to some amazing photos. it is a feature, a regular feature, of this presidency that the president gets so mad. it is such a thing that the president has literally had to say, quote, i don't have temper tantrums. he said that in the middle of a big public rant about his border wall which kind of seemed like a tantrum even in that moment. here's another one, though. in december 2017, there were multiple reports that the president's biggest lender, deutsche bank, had received a subpoena from robert mueller in the russia investigation.
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deutsche bank, of course, has loaned president trump billions of dollars over the years when other financial institutions wouldn't loan him so much as their pocket lint. why have they done that? i mean, the bank was also involved in a multibillion dollar russian money laundering scheme. are those things connected? it was not a total surprise that robert mueller might want a peek inside the trump files at deutsche bank. nevertheless, months later we learned that those published reports that deutsche bank had received subpoenas from mueller's investigation, we learned that those reports sent president trump into one of his more over the top destructive impressive freak-outs. the president was reportedly so hopping mad over the nerve of robert mueller to subpoena deutsche bank that he reacted to that news by trying to fire special counsel robert mueller. that was the reporting. "angry president sought to fire mueller over deutsche bank subpoenas." now, weirdly at the time, it was not totally clear that mueller actually had subpoenaed deutsche
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bank. the president's personal lawyer said he checked it out with the bank and found that no such subpoenas existed. okay. we don't know. sort of an open question given the reporting. maybe that was right. i mean, maybe it was a false alarm for the president. the house intelligence chairman adam schiff has repeatedly publicly questioned whether the special counsel's investigation ever peeked into the president's finances at all. suggesting, in fact, that they haven't. i don't know why adam schiff is saying that but he's been saying that for months. he's probably in a position to know as the chairman of the intelligence committee. we also don't know for sure what happened to the subpoenas that deutsche bank reportedly got that made the president so mad. did they definitely get them? what happened to them once day were issued? why did the president react the way he did -- i mean, maybe we'll find out on thursday when
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the attorney general releases some redacted version of robert mueller's report. but two days before that report comes out, we do know, as of today, that deutsche bank definitely has been subpoenaed now for sure. late yesterday, democrats in the house issued friendly but formal subpoenas to deutsche bank demanding the president's financial records. exactly the same territory of those reported subpoenas that drove the president to rage out and try to fire robert mueller a long time ago. "the new york times" is reporting democrats have not just subpoenaed deutsche bank, they also asked for documents from jpmorgan chase, bank of america, and also citigroup, documents recording, quote, possible money laundering by people in russia and eastern europe. the new subpoenas by democrats in congress follow financial records that were sent to the president's accounting firm and the house ways and means committee directing the irs to hand over the president's tax returns in accordance with the law which says the irs has to hand them over. the president has now fired a brand-new phalanx of lawyers whose only job seems to be to
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keep the president's tax returns and financial records away from scrutiny. to keep them secret from everybody who has a right to see them. the president's business, trump organization, is also reportedly considering ways to try to block deutsche bank from complying with the subpoenas and forking over trump's files. so the president's bank, the president's accounting firm, the president's taxes, it's all happening at once. i know the mueller report thursday morning, but all of this stuff separate and apart from mueller's investigation, it's all now happening. congress wants all of those records now and is acting to get them. the last time we got anywhere close to this, the president got so mad he tried to fire robert mueller. r. we don't follow the naysayers. ♪ ♪
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conventional wisdom says you can't make a 400 horsepower sedan, that's also environmentally conscious. we don't follow conventional wisdom. ♪ ♪ joining us now is greg farrell, investigative reporter for "bloomberg news." it's great to have you with us tonight. >> thank you. >> so the last time we spoke, the president was reportedly freaking out over the special counsel reportedly having issued a subpoena to deutsche bank about their relationship with president trump. we then learned months later that the president considered that to be a red line. he blew his top. it led him to try to fire the special counsel. now, after all of that experience, now we're in a situation where undisputedly, there are definitely subpoenas to deutsche bank and a bunch of other banks. >> yes. >> they're congressional subpoenas. i have a couple questions for
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you as an experienced reporter on these matters. first of all, a subpoena from congress, does it have any less force or any more force for these banks than a grand jury subpoena would? >> no. it has the full force and banks want this. you mentioned friendly subpoenas before. friendly insofar as this makes it easy for deutsche bank to respond. it was difficult when congresswoman maxine waters asked for it two years ago, she didn't have subpoena power. there might have been public interest in it but the bank secrecy act prevented deutsche bank from doing anything along those lines. >> right. >> subpoena power, you know, gives congresswoman waters, adam schiff, you know, the chance to -- the power to command this and deutsche bank has full defense that, you know, they're allowed to turn this over. so i don't think the president's lawyers are going to have much of a chance if they're going to try to fight this. >> alan garten, a lawyer at the trump organization, president's business, said he's exploring options to try to block deutsche bank from responding to the subpoena. are there any options? it sort of seems like this is a
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cul-de-sac. >> i don't think so. >> there's not any -- >> they're very creative. i'm sure he's going to try to find something that might pose an impediment, but i don't see how they can avoid this at this point. >> given the earlier reporting that the president really did lose his mind about this and that it led him to try to fire the special counsel, even though he knew what the implications of that would likely be, how are you viewing this in terms of the seriousness of these subpoenas, in terms of the potential response from the white house, in terms of the limited legal options they have for blocking this? as i said there's no mueller to fire here and he can't fire maxine waters or adam schiff. >> well, first of all for most people, you know, the going into defensive mode and trying to prevent information like this getting out would be a sign that there's something that is being hidden, something that the president's hiding. however, i think we've seen after a couple of years this is
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almost a reflexive mode. anything having to do with russia. one of the reasons the russia inquiry became so powerful and had such momentum is because there were denials and lies and attempts at coming up. and most people only cover up when there's something to cover up. but to some extent it's just a default mode it seems like in the white house to prevent information from getting out even if everything was on the up and up. so i don't think that helps in this case. we will find out, but that kind of reaction suggests that there's something wrong. so, you know, i'm not sure that's the case, but the president's different that way. >> do you think this will unfold in fairly short order? is this something that will stretch on for years? >> no, i think it will be in fairly short order. i'm not sure it's a coincidence the subpoenas finally come down. his inquiry is over and now it's time for a chance for congress
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to go forward. i'm sure on november 10th they were planning on what they were going to do but this is the first move. i don't think it will take long. >> investigative reporter for bloomberg news, thank you. we'll be right back. stay with us. news, thank you. we'll be right back. stay with us lease the 2019 is 300 for $329 a month for 36 months. experience amazing at your lexus dealer.
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tonight was the second one ever. the first one happened last month. congress had voted to basically undo the president trying to declare an emergency so he could build his wall between us and mexico, even though congress said no to that.
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he declared the emergency. congress said, "oh, no, you don't." trump then issued his first ever veto. he vetoed the "oh, no, you don't" from congress so that he could still build his wall. that was the first time he ever issued a veto. now tonight he has issued his second ever veto. congress took the very rare step of challenging a president on war. they voted to end u.s. involvement in the war in yemen. tonight president trump called that measure that congress sent him, "an unnecessary dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities," and then he put his veto sharpie to it. we have a president who is now governing in a way he didn't used to govern because congress has not openly challenged him much. he has not governed by veto much, but now two vetoes in two months. presumably more to come? watch this space. you've had quite the career.
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i have an unusual sound for you. can you name this? if you've ever spent time in new england, you'll have a leg up on everybody else here, but are you ready? all right. hit it. i know that sounds like bad news, but it's not. that is not the sound of a dying animal or an animal in distress. that is the sound of a happy fisher cat. the fisher cat is not actually a cat, it's in the weasel family. it's a large carnivorous arboreal tree-dwelling weasel. they're one of the only things rascally enough to know how to eat a porcupine. they are known to be pretty ferocious. if you want to talk more about the fisher cat, you should ask former two time republican governor of massachusetts bill weld. yesterday bill weld announced he will challenge president trump in the republican presidential primary in 2020.
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he also went out of his way to announce that the fisher cat will be his mascot, his guiding spirit in this endeavor. he told the "boston globe," "people are usually like, what's a fisher cat? but they don't realize how ferocious they can be. sort of like me and this campaign." now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. good evening, lawrence. >> good evening, rachel. fisher cat. i'm just changing my first question. i had never heard that scream. i never heard of that particular creature. but, of course, of course bill weld would choose something -- >> a fisher cat.